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Basil Davidson’s The Magnificent African Cake: 30 years on and still as magnificent as ever

In this post, Dr. Joanna Warson explores Basil Davidson’s classic documentary, The Magnificent African Cake, and considers some of the reasons why, more than 30 years after it was first aired on Channel 4, this film remains such an excellent resource for teaching the partition of Africa. Over the past few weeks, in our second year unit, ‘Guns, glory hunters and greed: European colonisation in Africa’, we have been exploring the partition of the African continent by the European colonial powers. Taking as our starting point the Portuguese exploration of Africa’s coastline in the 15th century, we have traced the development of relations between Africa and Europe, from these early, primarily trade-focused encounters to the violent, territorial conquest that took place in the final three decades of the 19th century, seeking to present the “Scramble for Africa” as a long term process, whilst also exploring in detail the particular late 19th century context that enabled formal partition to take place. We dedicated one of the first sessions dealing with this topic to watching The Magnificent African Cake, episode six of Basil Davidson’s award-winning series, “AFRICA: A voyage of discovery”. Despite being more than 30 years old, for a number of different […]

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Podcast of an interview with Prof. Tony Chafer

In this podcast, Prof. Tony Chafer talks to Jonathan Noy (King’s College London) about convergence and cooperation in Franco-British relations in Africa, and the challenges and opportunities of doing policy-relevant academic research. Tony and Jonathan also discuss the state of the archives in Francophone Africa and funding opportunities for researchers working on France and Africa. video placeholder                         We would like to thank Jonathan Noy and the Department of War Studies at King’s College London for kindly granting us permission to share this podcast on our website.    

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